What Good Advice Sounds Like

“Therefore hear the counsel of the Lord”

Jeremiah 50:45

Okay, I have a bit of a nice coincidence to share with you today, but to fully appreciate it, you need to have read this post.  So if you haven’t already, go there real quick and read that.  Go ahead, we’ll wait for you.


While we’re waiting, has anyone else noticed how crowded the ice cream shelves in the grocery store have become?  Every time we buy ice cream, we look to see which brand is one sale, and then we choose a flavor from that brand’s repertoire.  But recently I’ve noticed that there are fewer flavors to choose from in any given brand, and it’s because there are so many brands now.  It used to be there was Breyer’s and Dreyer’s and the store brand in the half-gallon size, and then Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s in the smaller size.  But now there’s Baskin Robbins and whole lines of ice creams that are hand-churned or made with coconut milk, and there’s gelato and custard-style and sorbets and sugar-free brands… It’s crazy.


Oh, sorry ~ you guys back?  Okay so let me tell you about a conversation I had the other day, that made me think of that conversation you just read about.


I have a friend that I’ll call Susannah ~ a very good friend.  And last week I got an “invitation” * to “participate” * in a “ministry opportunity” * that’s very close to her heart. 


{ *I put those words in quotes not because I’m mocking, but because I can’t remember the wording, so I’m just giving you an idea.}


Now, I like Susannah, and it’s a valid ministry that she’s working with, but it’s not something that’s for me.  Not right now.  As soon as I read it, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get involved.  But I prayed about it anyway, and gave God the chance to redirect me, and I didn’t feel like He was pushing me or encouraging me, or guiding me in that direction.  So I’m comfortable in my decision.


However.  (I do love that word!)  I’m going to be talking to Susannah in the very near future, and I don’t know what to say to her about it.  The invitation instructed me to click on a link to sign up, so I don’t know if she knows I haven’t.  And really, the problem is, the invitation was asking me to do something for someone else.  A specific something.  And I don’t know how to say to Susannah, “Thanks for inviting me to do that nice thing, but I’m not going to.”  Or do I say, “I don’t feel called by God to do that nice thing.” ?  I mean, how could someone not be called by God to do a nice thing for someone??


So I keep thinking of how to respond to her if she brings it up, and I haven’t quite settled on what to say.  And after pondering quite a bit, I asked my daughter what she thought.  She’s a very thoughtful, very understanding sort ~ helpful for seeing all sides of an issue.


But she didn’t know what to say either.  We talked a little bit about it, and she said sort of helplessly, “Sorry, Mom, I’m not sure.  But I think that if it comes up, you’ll know exactly what to say.”


Genius.  And totally right.  And here’s where it ties in what that other post you just read.  See, that post was about giving advice that is Godly.  Either sharing Scripture with others, or leading them to Scripture.  But just as important as giving Biblical advice, is receiving it.  And that’s what I heard when my daughter responded to me.  I heard Luke 12:12 ~ “the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”  And I had the answer, and the reassurance that I needed.


Now, of course, I couldn’t have “heard” that verse if I wasn’t familiar with it.  That’s the Holy Spirit bringing things to my remembrance, just as Jesus promised in John 14:26.   It’s all in how we listen.


~ “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit,

whom the Father will send in My Name,

He will teach you all things,

and bring to your remembrance

     all things that I said to you.” ~

John 14:26


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